Care + Skill + Judgment Builds Trust — Dr F Harold Wirth

His name was Dr F Harold Wirth.  He was a respected dentist in New Orleans and upon retiring from practice gave his time teaching at LSU Dental School and traveling the world speaking with his close friend Dr LD Pankey to dentists on the subject of building trust in a dental practice. He believed that if we do our job with the greatest care, skill and judgment we will gain trust from those we serve. This trust has great value and is the cornerstone of a fulfilling life in dentistry.


Excellence and enthusiasm were his trademarks. He was a profound believer that what the mind could conceive and believe it could achieve. He was a believer that a positive mental attitude, PMA, was a cornerstone of success and a fulfilling life. He believed everything could be done better if done with enthusiasm.

I was fortunate that he mentored me and shared his wisdom. On a beautfiful Wednesday in March of 1987 I was to have lunch with him. At that time I taught on Wednesdays at the dental school. I got delayed in clinic and went to his office to cancel my lunch engagement. He talked to me like he was summing up all he had ever told me and his last words to me were — “Remember, don’t forget to take care of the patient ”

That night a New Orleans Dental Association meeting filled with colleagues was held at the dental school concerning the future of dentistry. There were many discussions that took place that included advertising and entrepreneurship. Harold listened and did not speak but as moderator of the meeting called it to a close visibly upset because no one had mentioned care of the patient. He spoke the following:

“There will always be free enterprise private practice for the caring dentist who constantly seeks excellence for his patients through the exercise of great care, skill and judgment. For those of you who are concerned, do not worry, because people will seek you out.”

With that he adjourned the meeting, walked off the stage and collapse of a massive heart attack in the arms of my good friend Dr Mike Robuchaux. He lived and died for the integrity of dentistry and the care of the patient.




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